“I need a cell phone.”
Hearing these words from your child is enough to send a shiver down your spine.
Just like when they go off to kindergarten, take up a musical instrument, or ask to drive, you’ll wonder everything from “Is my child ready?” to “How much will this cost me?” When you finally land on the pro-cell side, the last big question is “How do I pick the best phone for my kid?”
Choosing the best phone for kids usually isn’t about brand, but rather a matter of need, budget, and compatibility. Consider these questions before choosing your kid’s cell phone.
Age and experience?
Even before they get their first phone, a lot of kids already have Internet access through their laptops or tablets. So, they’re already Internet savvy—in some cases, more than their parents! However, the average kid in the U.S. gets a smartphone in late elementary or early middle school, which might seem too young to some parents. Before saying “yes” to a cell phone, ask yourself:
- Is my child responsible enough to keep track of a smartphone and take care of it?
- Is my child old enough to understand rules and respect limitations?
- Is my child mature enough to behave politely and responsibly online?
If you think it’s too soon for a smartphone, but still want your child to have the safety and security of a wireless device, consider a basic phone with just talk and texting features. They’re easy to use and their smaller size fits better in kids’ hands. Best of all, their lower prices make basic phones a logical starting place for kids who might be more likely to lose or damage a phone. And speaking of price…
What’s your budget?
A basic phone’s lower price tag is a great way to save money. But, if you’ve decided to get a smartphone and still want to save money, consider a certified pre-owned device. These phones can save you hundreds of dollars, while still giving your child a high-end smartphone experience. You don’t worry about it giving out at a critical moment because we inspect and test each device to make sure it performs as it should. And, the kids won’t notice those tiny scratches or dings when they’re playing the latest hit mobile game.
Favorite operating system?
Fans will argue about the best operating system until the next dot-com boom. We’re not going to touch that. Just keep in mind that it’s easier to manage multiple phones on the same operating system—especially if you want to control a child’s Internet access or data use. So, if you’re an iOS family, think about getting your kid an iPhone. If you love your Android phone, your kid will probably love one, too. As long as your operating system already meets your needs, that makes it the top choice for your family. Taking the time to find a phone that fits your kid’s lifestyle—and your own—will help you get one that makes you both happy. If only it could be this easy when they think they’re ready to start driving…